Last week were the first cold days of fall on the front porch. The wind was ripping and tearing at the house, trying to find a way inside. After the monsoon’s we had earlier in the week, I had hoped for a reprise to summer. Instead we got leaden clouds, and a cold wind blowing in from the steppes of Outer Mongolia. OK, OK, God, it’s fall, I get the point already!
Driving the kids to school the maple trees were flaming orange in the overcast, and already the first few fallen leaves of autumn were swirling down the street, inspiring mopey teenagers all over town to pen poems about death in their journals. Not that I did that when I was a teen. At least as far as you know. (Note to self: burn those old journals in the fire pit tonight)
Last week was Lil’ Miss 20 Prospect’s parent-grandparent lunch, and since Mom and Grandma were in San Francisco I got to be the guardian-du-jour. (I don’t speak French, but I think I just said I got to protect the soup). Anyway, rather than make the 40 minute commute to work, just to turn around and drive right back to school for lunch, I took the morning off to work from home. And by “work from home” I mean “hang out in a coffee shop surfing the internet, waiting for the Used Record store to open so I could loiter and browse.” (Shhh, don’t tell our shareholders).
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Autumn puts me in a pensive mood. I’ve always been deeply affected by the seasons, and fall has always had the biggest impact on me. (Relax. I’m not going to share a poem about death.) Ever since the weather started cooling off, I’ve been playing old 80’s music in the car on the drive to work. My playlist has been kind of limited, as most of my music from college and single days was on cassette tapes, which have gone the way of Victrola’s, and pay telephones. Being a Luddite, it took me until 1994 to embrace CD’s. Then a few years ago, Mrs. 20 Prospect convinced me to get rid of most of my old CD collection of 90’s music. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time as the kids were so little most of what I listened to was Raffi, and the Wiggles. (You know you have arrived as a parent when you drop the kids at daycare, and realize half way to work that you are not only still listening to the Wiggles, but you are singing along.)
Mrs. 20 Prospect bought me an iPod for Christmas last year, and ever since I have been gradually adding back to my music collection. Being a Luddite, however, it took me months to figure out how to operate the thing. So I just want to pause a moment to ask; if Steve Jobs is such a freaking genius, why is iTunes so bleeping hard to figure out? I could do my taxes in less time than it takes me to find and download a podcast. So, instead I loaded all of my current CD’s into iTunes. Well, the ones that didn’t get purged, or have been bought in the last few years. Which meant that my collection was mostly Alt-country stuff like Lucinda Williams, Wilco, The Jayhawks, Son Volt, and old Uncle Tupelo.
So now that I have an iPod, and a half hour to myself in the evenings as I walk the dogs, I have started listening to music again. Lately, I’ve missing been all the old music I used to listen to in the 80’s and early 90’s, which was the first and only time in my life that my tastes in music were remotely topical, and relevant. (That probably had more to do with rooming with a couple of guys that had great taste in music, and working at a college radio station, than anything on my part.)
So I considered downloading some music from iTunes. Of course this had a few drawbacks.
First, I am technically incompetent and not at all convinced that I could do it based on my experience with iTunes.
Second, I am cheap and the thought of paying $0.99 a song seemed way too decadent for my frugal ways.
Third, I am still suspicious of buying downloaded songs. I mean really, what have I bought? I can’t see it. I can’t touch it. I just can’t wrap my little brain around the abstract concept of digital music. What if my computer tips over and all the songs leak out? How would I pick them up off of the floor? (Yes, I fully realize that these questions are on par with an aborigine believing that a camera steals souls)
So for these three reasons I have continued to buy CD’s.
Well, mostly because of reason #3.
My store of choice for buying music in the Twin Cities, is, was, and always shall be Cheapo Records. Besides the obvious reason that the store is named after me, they have the biggest remaining collection of CD’s in the city. Of course, that’s like saying you have the biggest collection of VHS tapes. But, the best part about Cheapo is that married 40 something guys like myself have been forced by their wives to sell off their CD collections, so the used CD bins are overflowing with 80’s and 90’s music.
So I spent the bulk of an hour perusing the bins, looking for deals as I waited for lunchtime. For 20 bucks I was able to add back a nice portion of the soundtrack of my life. This trip netted me New Order, The Pixies, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and some REM.
So, without further ado, I give you the TOP FIVE songs for morning commute…
5.) New Order: Blue Monday
4.) REM: Gardening at Night
3.) The Jesus and Mary Chain: Just Like Honey
2.) The Replacements: Unsatisfied
1.) The Pixies: Gigantic
So that’s what I have been listening to lately, which probably explains why this blog has been marinating in stories from the 80’s the past couple of weeks. What have you been listening to?????